Go Back
+ servings
Ukrainian stuffed cabbage main photo
Print Recipe
4.93 from 14 votes

Ukrainian Stuffed Cabbage (Holubtsi)

Holubtsi is a Ukrainian Stuffed Cabbage dish that's mild but still tasty. It is usually served with sour cream.
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Course: entree
Cuisine: ukranian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 538kcal
Author: Hilda Sterner


  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • ¾ lb ground pork or beef
  • 1 cup carrots (ground)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
  • cup Italian parsley (or dill, chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ounces tomato paste (⅓ of a 6-ounce can)
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoon sea salt (divided)
  • ½ teaspoon malic acid (or citric acid)
  • teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cups Jasmine rice


  • 2 cups water
  • 4 ounces tomato paste (⅔ of a 6-ounce can)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon malic acid (or citric acid)
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil


  • 1 container sour cream (or yogurt)


Boil Cabbage

  • Wash, core, and boil cabbage in a deep pot. Once the water comes to a boil, turn the heat to low and simmer the cabbage until the outer leaves can easily be pulled away from the cabbage. The leaves' color will change to a brighter green. As you pull the leaves off, allow them to cook in the hot water for a little longer if necessary, until they're pliable.

Prepare the Filling

  • In a large bowl, mix ground pork, carrots, onion, parsley, garlic, egg, oil, tomato paste, salt, black pepper, and paprika. Add washed and strained rice and mix to combine.
  • Once the cabbage leaves have cooled, slice off the large spine going down the middle of the leaves, and use the spines to layer the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed pot. This layer of leaves will keep the stuffed cabbage from sticking to the pot or burning.

Stuff Cabbage Rolls

  • Fill the trimmed cabbage leaves with 1 tablespoon of filling mixture and roll the leaves tightly over the filling. Depending on the size of the leaf, they may require more or less filling. Place the stuffed cabbage seam-side down into the lined pot; continue until you have one layer, then start another layer. Depending on the size of the pot, you may end up with two or three layers of cabbage rolls.

Preheat Oven to 325 Degrees F

    Prepare Tomato Sauce

    • Add water and tomato paste to a small saucepan and season with salt, malic acid, and sugar. Add oil and whisk over medium heat until the tomato paste is dissolved and the sauce comes to a boil.
    • Pour sauce over stuffed cabbage, cover the pot, and bake the stuffed cabbage for one hour or until the rice is tender. Serve stuffed cabbage with sour cream.



    • The best tool I've found for pulling away from the cooked leaves from the head of cabbage is kitchen tongs.
    • You can also use the leaves in the core of the cabbage which are too small to stuff and the overly cooked and flimsy ones to line the bottom of the pot. Also, dogs LOVE cooked cabbage!
    • Sometimes the stuffed cabbage is wrapped into a cone shape, while other times the entire cabbage leaf is rolled into one giant stuffed cabbage roll. I fell back to the way my mom taught me to roll the cabbage leaves.
    • To stuff onions use medium-sized oval-shaped onions. Peel the onions and slice them halfway through the middle, length-wise. Boil the onions until they begin to open up and the layers can be easily separated. Each layer will make on stuffed onion.
    • If you decide to cook the Ukrainian Stuffed Cabbage on the stove-top, follow the same procedure. Sometimes a plate is placed on top of the stuffed cabbage while they cook. The plate keeps the stuffed cabbage submerged in the cooking liquid.
    • Store any leftover Holubtsi in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
    • Holubtsi does not freeze well because the texture of the cabbage rolls changes once they are frozen. 


    Serving: 1serving | Calories: 538kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 315mg | Sodium: 661mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g